PENDLETON — “That pitcher is definitely one, our coaches say, probably one the toughest ones we’ll see all season.”

That was Pendleton center fielder Shea Lindsey after facing Mac-Hi’s pitching ace Colette Robert on Tuesday, but the sentiment held true for batters of both teams in a non-conference softball clash in Pendleton.

Robert struck out 10 batters in a four-hitter for the Pioneers, but it was the Bucks’ Marissa Jones that stole the show. Jones struck out 11, including seven in the final three innings, and scattered Mac-Hi’s hits safely throughout the game. She and the Bucks would end victorious in this pitchers’ duel, 4-1.

Jones allowed seven hits, but only one time did they double up in an inning. Not surprisingly, Mac-Hi scored its only run then on back-to-back base hits from Robert and Megan Reed.

Through much of the game, though, pitching ruled.

“Neither one was going to give in on the other’s stats, that’s for sure,” Pendleton coach Tim Cary said. “Both girls went out there and threw a gem,?I thought.”

Pendleton (11-3) picked up the early lead, getting to Robert for two runs over the first two innings on just two hits. Lindsey scored the first of her two runs in the first after getting hit by a pitch before scooting around to home, taking two bases on an infield fielder’s choice.

Then in the second, Reeghan Lehnert scored an unearned run after getting on with an error. Darian Lindsey singled her home, one of two hits for the third baseman.

Mac-Hi (11-4) did its best to answer. After a 1-2-3 first inning, the Pioneers put runners in scoring position in each of the final six innings. Only once did it yield a run.

“We got the hits but not the timely ones,” Mac-Hi coach Nicole Christian said. “We couldn’t capitalize on them.”

In no inning was that more obvious than the fifth. A one-run game at that point, Brianna Crewse drew a walk before Kariss Carrillo doubled to send runners to second and third base. The Pioneers were starting to lean on Pendleton’s pitcher.

But six pitches later, Jones had struck out two batters to not only end the inning and the threat, but give her team a distinct swing in momentum.

“I knew what the umpire was giving me off the plate and so I just decided if he was going to give it to me, I was going to throw it,” Jones said about the loose outside corner that was consistently getting the strike call. She caught both batters flailing at outside offerings for her punch-out pitches to end the inning.

A rejuvenized Pendleton squad put the game in motion in the bottom half of the inning. Shea Lindsey got on with an out on a sneaky bunt just in front of the plate. Two batters later and with Lindsey having hustled her way to third, Rayne Spencer drew a walk to put runners on the corners.

Then Cary let his girls run. Pinch runner Mykal Wiessenfluh broke for second with a pitch, drawing a throw from the catcher. Lindsey saw her opening, swiping home for her second run of the game.

“It kind of depends on the angle of the ball (on the throw to second base),” Lindsey said. “You just have to be able to read it. I?waited until it got past the pitcher and then it was just, ‘fingers crossed.’ ”

Pendleton would score its final run of the game a batter later when Evangelina Olivera laced a double to the fence in center to bring around Wiessenfluh.

Strikes weren’t hard to come by Tuesday with each pitcher throwing efficiently. Both Jones and Robert threw better than 2:1 strikes to balls in their dueling complete-game efforts. Jones walked just one to Robert’s trio of free passes.

A pitcher’s focus is her own game, Robert said, but when opposing hurlers get in a battle like the one in Pendleton, it’s hard not to buy into it.

“She did push me to have to go and work harder, too,” Robert said.

The teams had met once already this season, a 7-0 Pendleton victory on opening day, March 12, in Milton-Freewater. The offense for Mac-Hi was much improved in Tuesday’s outing. Both shortstop Reed (3-for-3) and designated player Nicole Hendley (2-for-3) had multiple-hit afternoons.

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Contact AJ?Mazzolini at ajmazzolini@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0839.

  

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